Focus on the day ahead. “I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.” Philippians 3:14 MSG
Effective redundancy at times is a good thing. Paul writes: “I don’t mind repeating what I have written..I hope you don’t mind hearing it again. Better safe than sorry.” Philippians 3:1 MSG
Paul dispatching with the victim mentality: “Whatever you do, don’t feel sorry for me.” Philippians 2:18 MSG
Today is Tuesday Two-for-One deal. “Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God.” Philippians 2:15 MSG
In this case not ‘you-first’ but ‘me-first.’ “Do everything readily and cheerfully—no bickering, no second-guessing allowed!” Philippians 2:14 MSG
The cure for society begin individually. “Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.” Philippians 2:4 MSG
Oops. “Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead.” Philippians 2:3 MSG
And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Ephesians 6:10-13, The Message Bible
In the final episode of The Taciturn Conspiracy, it’s most important to remember the battle is the Lord’s! I understand the tendency to struggle back when knocked down. No one likes the sense of humiliation. But, as The Message Bible paraphrases verse 13, this conspiracy is “far more than you can handle on your own.” In this case, it’s crucial, lastly:
c) Don’t forget who The Victor is
Jesus Christ is the victor! We stand only in the power of His might. Verse 10 reads:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.
There is no one like our God! The battle is the Lord’s, not ours. He has won the victory, not us. We are weak and helpless in the face of any and all great satanic conspiracies. Even the famous Job, righteous and mighty as he was, could not withstand the whiles of the devil when he was tried. Let me explain.
Though we discover in reading the book of Job that the man did not sin in speech through all his afflictions,¹ Job does seem to lose perspective in light of his sufferings. In Job 31, beginning with verse 3, we find Job’s words about his crisis were:
Is not calamity for the unrighteous, and disaster for the workers of iniquity? Does not he [God] see my ways and number all my steps?
In short, Job’s problem was he thought he deserved to be saved because he was so righteous. Job understood the truth that his crisis was not a result of sin—he makes that case clear to his three friends throughout the book. But, his error was in thinking he was strong and mighty because he was righteousness—in short, he deserved salvation. In this Job justified himself rather than God. He fell directly into the devil’s schemes by concluding his circumstances were of flesh and blood—people were his problem—and not powers of spiritual darkness in high places.
As long as we believe we’re battling with flesh and blood we’re not able to see our need for help, a Savior, or that Jesus is victor. That’s why it’s imperative to see who the ultimate conspirator is. For this we put on the whole armor of God day-by-day! Plus, don’t ever forget who the victor is! This conspiracy is far more than we can handle. To think we can “go it alone” is exactly what the devil wants us to believe. Satan wants us taken up with the world’s surveillance cameras surrounding us. He wants us believing we fight against flesh and blood. He wants us to consider victory as up to us—just inches away from grasping. It’s not so! In his hubris, Job found that out and was rebuked by his young friend, Elihu. In Job 32, verse 2 were read:
“Then Elihu…burned with anger. He burned with anger at Job because he justified himself rather than God.”
And then in Job 33, verses 26 through 28, we find Elihu cuts lose in correcting Job. Beginning with verse 26 we read Elihu tells Job:
“…then man prays to God, and he accepts him; he sees his face with a shout of joy, and he restores to man his righteousness. He sings before men and says: ‘I sinned and perverted what was right, and it was not repaid to me. He has redeemed my soul from going down into the pit, and my life shall look upon the light.’”
Job learns his suffering were more than he could handle. He finds he was only deserving of judgment and then his plea matches the state of his weakness with the words: “I sinned and perverted what was right, and it was not repaid to me!”
When we forget that our true adversary is the devil, we become like Job thinking we deserve help because we are so righteous in our cause. But, salvation is all about what we can’t handle and then finding Jesus as the victor. This discovery is what the devil truly fears most. All his taciturn conspiracies are in coordination to keep us from this truth—Jesus is victor.
That’s the whole deflection of the devil—to get us thinking we are mighty and we can fight against flesh and blood, when in fact, we are nothing and in desperate need of God’s help! So, please remember we have powerful adversary in the devil. But God has given us an armor to put on to discover the strength we have in Jesus!
Ephesians 6, verse 10: Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.
J Robert Hanson
¹ Job 2:10, ESV: “…Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.
Any divisions in a church fellowship? Paul writes: “do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends.” Philippians 2:2 MSG
Whom can you trust these days? “Stand united, singular in vision, contending for people’s trust in the Message, the good news” Philippians 1:27 MSG